social slowdown

A podcast to help you decrease your reliance on social media & find new ways to market your business sustainably. Get new leads & clients … without needing to be constantly attached to your phone.

Ep. 40: Standardizing Your Content Processes & Operating Procedures With Theresa Truong Baretta

In today’s episode, I’m speaking with Theresa Truong Baretta, CEO of Loop Link.

Theresa helps business owners standardize their operating procedures so that they can spend less time managing and directing the day-to-day operations.

In this episode, that’s what we’re talking about! – How you can get more time back for yourself by putting marketing and content production systems in place to make the things that you’ve built work for you.

We talk about some examples of SOPs that we’ve put in place for our own businesses when creating content such as blog posts, YouTube videos, and social content.

If you’re looking to “be the owner who isn’t owned by your business”, as Theresa would say, then this episode is for you!

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send a cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hey, y’all happy summer is my favorite season of the year. And where I live in upstate New York, it lasts about five minutes. So I’ve decided to take some time off from creating content in order to really enjoy as much time away from my keyboard as humanly possible. But I didn’t want to just leave you high and dry for the next three months. So we’ve got a fun podcast plan. Here at love. At first search, we’re all about making evergreen marketing assets really work for you long term. So this summer, we are practicing what we preach. And we’re repurposing something that we created last year, releasing it out to the public for the first time. So last year, we ran an event called SEO summer camp, which focused on creating efficient content marketing systems. And as part of summer camp, I interviewed 15 of my fellow business owners all about their tips for planning strategic content and creating engaging content consistently and utilizing that same content across multiple channels like YouTube or podcasts in order to grow their audience. So over the next nine or so weeks, you’ll hear those interviews here on the podcast. Some of them might be slightly out of date, but we still think they’re incredibly valuable resources. And we did not want to limit their reach by only having them available to the people who were involved in last year’s event. So you may notice that I start most of the interviews with something like hey, summer campers, and then I give recommendations based on what was happening in the community and the live events we are running. That’s why I wanted to give some context in this introduction. So you’re not just like, What the heck is she talking about. And because we are spending this summer in our podcast talking all about content marketing systems and creating more efficiently, I want to tell you about something that we’re going to be launching at the end of this summer, we’re going to be creating a new digital product, I am tentatively calling it the SEO content Maximizer it may change names by the time we actually release it. We will be sharing all of the love it first search templates and processes and systems that we use to turn every podcast and every YouTube video into its own blog and newsletter and social media content. To give some context in about six to eight hours a week, our team produces one YouTube video, a podcast, two blog posts, a newsletter and five social media posts, you obviously would not need to do that much as a small business owner, we’re you know, we’ve been doing this for a long time we’ve created these solid content marketing systems. But we’ve got this process so locked down that we want to share that with you so that it will be easier for you to make more strategic content in less time. If you’re interested in hearing about that new content Maximizer product when it’s ready, head over to love it for search.com/maximize Sign up for the waitlist and you’ll be the first to know when we’re ready for beta testers. And if you’re listening to this in the future, you can head to that and we’ll redirect it to where you can find out more about that product. Alright, so there’s the context as to what you’re hearing this summer and why. Without further ado, let’s get started with the interview. Hello campers. I am so excited to share with you my right hand Woman This is Teresa Truong she is She has been a part of my team for 22 months

Theresa Truong Baretta 4:14
yeah almost two years.

Meg Casebolt 4:17
So to give you guys a little bit of backstory, Teresa hired me to do the keyword research for her YouTube videos and her blog posts. And so I was doing the keyword research on why do you need standard operating procedures and how does an operations consultant I help you to make really consistent workflows and how do you increase your efficiency by doing these operational tasks and I turned over the keyword plan and content strategy Teresa and the next day was like so how do I hire you for me we’ve been together ever since history Yeah, exactly. So I can credit Teresa with you know the helping me create enough space that I can create content and systematizing so many things in my business that I can either do them faster, delegate them out, automate them in some way build the automations in. But I don’t just want to tell you about my experience, I will let you kind of explain the wherever you want to get started. I’ll let you take it from here.

Theresa Truong Baretta 5:18
Yes, yes, thanks so much mag, and you know, every single time that I talk about you, I just count it as like one of those magical and serendipity story. But yes, like, you know, all in all, it just comes down to what we view as the type of systems that we want, and what and how do we want our systems to serve us? I think that’s the biggest thing as we start stepping more into, like, systematization. And it’s not just only, you know, to get systems in place, so that we can be more productive, we’re more efficient, but it’s to answer the questions on how do I get more time back. So that I’m doing less directing, less managing of the day to day aspects, and really be able to scale past where some of these barriers were, and to make all of the things that we’ve built, or that we’ve done work for us at the end of the day. And so like, you know, as we start building out content, as we start generating, you know, podcasts or YouTube videos, or even blog posts, how do we tie that all together so that it becomes the Silikal system that will just go on evergreen, and continue to work for us down the road and beyond? Right. And so, you know, that’s, I think, would be a really good jump off point for us to start talking about. And I think like, you know, as we have, you know, worked with so many different clients throughout the years, where did they, you know, starts having experiencing the gaps in the systems, I suppose, right?

Meg Casebolt 6:54
Yeah. And, you know, you and I have worked together on so many different processes and systems within my business. So if any of you have looked at the sales page for the strategy sessions, that was Theresa coming in and going, you’re doing the same thing with different people, and then you’re changing it slightly every time, just make it the same thing. So that way, someone else can set it up for you. Right, and we’re talking about this, the things we’re going to talk about here, when it comes to your marketing systems can be applied to other places in your business, you know, your bookkeeping systems, your administrative systems, your team systems, whatever those look like. But since this is summer camp, let’s talk specifically about marketing systems and specifically about content production systems. Because if a blog, post a blog post, takes you four hours, it’s going to eat up, do you know, let’s say work a 40 hour week, it’s gonna be up 10% of your week to write a blog post, if you can cut the amount of time that that takes to two hours, maybe you can write two or you can write them every week instead of every other week. Or you can cut it down where we’re at the point now with our team, where I couldn’t take a half an hour and record a video, and then send it to the editor, I have to do a little bit of back and forth to be like, oh, like, you know, let’s change out this graphic a little bit. And then the team puts it up on YouTube. And I double check that and the team, turns it into a blog post, turns it into social media posts, turns into other things, where I am spending probably a half an hour, 45 minutes on each one of these videos that turn into really great assets that are long term in the business. So it doesn’t have to be you know, it used to be 234 hours for me to create content. And now because we have this process in place that is the same every time. It doesn’t have to take hours and hours and hours.

Theresa Truong Baretta 8:49
Yes, absolutely. And I think like, you just hit a really, really strong point there, right, which is what is the minimal viable piece that you need to be a part of, and for yourself, it was the domino effect, which is what I consider it right, where you just need to create the content. And then if you do have a team, that the team would be able to take that through the process itself. And it’s so important to really have standardized processes, where it stays stagnant. Right? And you’re, you’re making minor adjustments to the process flow as you continue to, to go. And there is always room for continuous improvement for sure. But the question that but what we always want to try and do is run through that process, you know, five to 10 times first just to kind of see if we can work out some of those kinks and do it the same way first before we make any adjustments, right? Because otherwise you’re constantly changing the process. And then the team can’t stay. Stay up to date with it right like can’t keep up with with it. And so, you know, when we started refining, you know, the content process for your for for yourself. That’s the idea that we went for. Right? Is that okay? You know, this is what the process flow is, what’s working, what’s not working and continuing to just the grounded to that process. Right. And also knowing like, you know, we’re does the content and up, because that truly matters too, right? So it’s not just about like just outputting and shooting out every single social media channel out there

Meg Casebolt 10:35
spraying.

Theresa Truong Baretta 10:38
But like, you know, where do you does your audience live? Who Where does your ideal people live? And where will it generate the most output? Once you you leave it out there, right. So, for example, when you and I first started working together, my initiative was YouTube, because I knew that’s where, you know, once I put the content out that that was going to continue to generate and basically go on autopilot. And same thing with a blog post, right versus social media channels. And so that knowing where the path ends, you can then work backwards and tie it into your process. Because then now the team will know, okay, so it needs to go on YouTube, it needs to go out to, you know, the RSS feed or your blog post or like, wherever that content is going to stay stagnant as well.

Meg Casebolt 11:31
Yeah. And I think also a big part of it. And this is true, whether you have a team or not, is knowing what it’s going to look and feel like at the end. You know, so whether you’re writing your own blog post, creating your own graphics, like having templates, having a jumping off point, knowing that you can go into Canva and change out just the words or just the background image without needing to reinvent the wheel every time, which is absolutely what I was doing two years ago, because I think it’s fun, that it’s fun to me, and I was building them out in Illustrator, and they were so freakin beautiful. And I spent so much time on them, and it didn’t matter. You know, and, and there wasn’t that consistent brand presence, there was a little bit, you know, but I wanted everything to feel super exciting, as opposed to feeling super cohesive. And so once I kind of got over that, like everything is a special snowflake. And went into like, what are the brand standards, then I can turn it over to other people. And they especially as my time has gotten smaller, between pandemic and life and all the other things. But my time that I’m spending on these is getting smaller, and I have people who are who have time to be creative. So I can say here, the brand standards, here’s the colors, here’s the you know, my pictures, the types of pictures, I like the fonts, the, you know, whatever. And they’re making things that I wouldn’t have thought of because they have the container in which

Theresa Truong Baretta 12:58
to put them. Exactly, exactly. And I love how you kind of framed that night because I think that’s the biggest difference between creativity and standardization. Because you know, creatives like us, we feel so restricted whenever we think of standards and structure, right? Because we feel like we are being put in a container. But it’s sort of like the the opposite actually. Because once we can actually say this is the way that actually moves off of our plate so that it allows us to generate that output that creativity in other forms and other ways, which should be in your content itself. Right.

Meg Casebolt 13:40
So if you know let’s let’s go from like, the most basic option, you know, you want to write one blog post a month, how would you reverse engineer process or an SOP for that one blog post? What would that systematize systematisation.

Unknown Speaker 14:01
So we’re getting into the fun part of the part you love. This is the part where I’m like, Oh, don’t make me make another loom video? Absolutely, absolutely.

Theresa Truong Baretta 14:10
So I think the first piece is to kind of really, you know, understand what kind of what’s the purpose of your blog posts, because you don’t want to put the blog post out just for the sake of putting a blog post out, right. So let’s say you only have time to do one blog post a month. And so the key to that success is to really identify where you can template, a lot of your steps. And so for example, when you are going to create the blog post itself, have a template for how you go through and write your content or your blog post. Then what we’re going to want to do is have a template in your management tool, whether it’s your project management, like Trello, same page or click up whatever is the case you have your workflow already Little to out. And then also as well, a timeline. Now this is where the trick comes in, right is by understanding when your due date is supposed to be for posting. And then you work backwards from there. Usually, if you are running low on time, you want to kind of get down to the specifics and do time blocking on your calendar in order for that to kind of really manifest. So like, you know, put in a target of writing your blog post for like, 45 minutes to 60 minutes. And I think when we first started working together, that was one of the key elements to write is like to say, hey, like, do your best stop at 60 minutes. And that really just gets you focused in honed in and, you know, really keep your eyes on the systems, keep your eyes on the process itself. And then once you are able to like put in your templates put in your process, then you can just kind of go through that. And if you have a team in place, make sure that you’re communicating that to your team as well, so that they know what are some of the deliverables and expectations will be and that, you know, where the clear accountabilities also lie. So for example, you know, Meg, we have a team. And so your accountability was in creating the content. And then we also knew who was going to be creating the graphics, who was going to be, you know, posting or drafting and on the website, and then who was going to be taking it to the social channels as well. Right. So it’s really important to have those clear roles and responsibilities within the workflow itself as well. Now, if you are a solopreneur, and you are, you know, the one who’s wearing all of the hats, still treat it as if you are wearing those specific hats. And you know, your name will just be tied to those hats as well, right. But just remember that is it’s only for the interim until you have a team in place. Or if you have the systems that’s going to be able to do a lot of that for you, right. So all in all, like that is going to be the crucial thing is deciding and starting with the process one by one. And the biggest thing is keep the process simple, right? For the first few blog posts, use the same templates, you don’t need to recreate, you know, the templates over and over again, until you feel that you’ve got it down packed, and that you are, you know, operating in those pieces or those steps without going over the time that’s allotted to it.

Meg Casebolt 17:36
And I think also if you whether you’re a solopreneur, or you have a small team support you, one of the things that’s made a huge difference for me is just batching. So I’ll I’ll block off time every quarter and say, Okay, here’s my plan for what I’m going to produce next quarter. And I’ll go do the keyword research for the whole quarter. Now, this isn’t something I’d recommend right out of the gate, if you’re just getting into the process of starting to create, just do write the blog post, do the keyword research, create the image publish, done, get it done, get it done, get it up, don’t let the process stop you from doing it. But make note of what the process is. And then maybe you want to just as you’re doing the keyword research next time, think about what’s the next post I’m gonna write. Exactly. And then when you go into Canva to make your images say, you know, what are the what are the other images I need to be making right now. So instead of just like, I’m going to do the blog, and then two days later, go back and be like, Oh, I’m gonna make now make the Pinterest image. Oh, now I’m going to three days later now I’m gonna put it in Instagram, no, just convert them all over at the same time while you’re in the zone of it. So it’s not even like you have to batch multiple blog posts, but maybe just batch multiple images.

Theresa Truong Baretta 18:48
Yes, exactly. Exactly. And know what works for

Meg Casebolt 18:51
your brain to some people are like, I’m going to take a Monday morning. And there are people who aren’t attract and activate who meet up on Monday mornings they write together, and they haven’t done, you know, by the end of that session, or if you have a focus session that you’re doing, maybe you want to say I want to have this entire blog post done in 90 minutes. And it has to be done by that amount of time. And that’s my outcome. And that’s my time block. Or maybe you’re more of a person who’s like on Monday, I’m going to do the keyword research. On Tuesday, I’m going to write the post on Wednesday, I’m going to do the images on Thursday, I’m going to get it on the website and do that final copy edit on Friday, I’m going to promote it right like whatever your system is for your life for your brain, whether you’re blocking into small blocks are spreading it out for 20 minutes a day. Yes, I mean, you can’t write a whole book, you probably you could maybe write a whole blog post in 20 minutes, you know, do the keyword research and then talk it out and then get it transcribed and then come back to the next day and write you know, like there’s a way that you could make that work.

Theresa Truong Baretta 19:48
Yes, exactly. And I think you nailed it right there too. Is that like, you know, there’s so many different variations of systems out there taught by different leaders taught by different coaches and it does work The question is, Does it fit you? does it align with where you’re at in your business today, or where you’re at in your life today, right. And the systems that may be working for you in this season, you may have outgrown it in the next season and be okay with that. Right. But at least the biggest thing is that you’ve now have the foundations of what a systems are strong working system for your content looks like feels like and then you want to kind of take that on, and start branching that out further. Now, right

Meg Casebolt 20:33
and, and, and acknowledging that what works for somebody right now doesn’t ever have to work for you. If your brain doesn’t want to work that way, then don’t force it into someone else’s system. We have two people and attract and activate, I want to tell you about these amazing goals. One is Sandra, who said, I’m going to write 100 pieces of content in 100 days, I’m like, holy shit woman, like but she is she’s a systems and productivity expert. So she’s got these things down pat. And then we’ve also got Annie, who is building up a YouTube channel. And she’s like, I’m going to batch all of my videos while my kids are at summer camp, because when the fall comes, I’m not going to have the quiet house anymore. So she’s planning to batch six months of content in the next month. And then just that way, when the video editor can do it, they can get to it, it’ll be ready to go. And then when she’s in launch season, she doesn’t have to worry about her content plan, right. So there are some people who are like super intense, let’s get it done as fast as possible. There are some people who are batch and then drip and you only if you are if you’re batching, six months of content, you only have to do it twice a year, right? So it doesn’t all have to be every week, boom, boom, boom, it can be something that fits into what’s happening in your life and your time availability right now.

Theresa Truong Baretta 21:50
That’s right. I gotta tell you, those two gems that you just mentioned, totally lights up my system saw. No, right. Yes, absolutely. And you’re right, right. Like, you know, it is about like knowing yourself the best, right? And knowing what are your blocks when it does come to content? Because I think when you and I started working together, like I was like, content, and my brain just seems to like not like each other. And so I would always freeze up when I started thinking about like, what am I going to write about today. And so by even applying the systems that I teach to myself, like through my own business, it really powered up that strong consistency as well. And if you think about systems in that format, and that way, is that it’s going to help you stay consistent, help you build that foundation, that right foundation, so that you can execute on the strategies that you’ve designed and built out, you’re going to start seeing that fruits, the fruits of success coming through that. Yeah, I

Meg Casebolt 22:55
love that. And I love that we can we can talk about content, not just as a means of creativity, but also like it is a production. And sure we can bring in these amazing stories that other people are going to share with us and think about the ways that we can use interviews to drive new people to our website. And you know, like there’s so much creativity that can go into our content. But we also don’t want creativity to run the show. And not have those you know, the if you say to people that you’re going to release a podcast every week, and you don’t you do it no six at a time and then never again, your audience doesn’t is not going to come back for that. Right? Like you set the expectations. You set your own timelines, but then you do have an audience waiting for you especially on like in a podcast feed. I have specific days that I tune into specific podcasts. I know you’re not a pot, you’re a YouTuber, I’m a podcaster. It’s fine.

Theresa Truong Baretta 23:52
Absolutely. Exactly ugly. And it’s so important because our content trains our audience. Yeah. Right. And so like, you know, if you continue to always switch up your, your graphics, for example, you’re training them to expect something new each time versus that cohesive branding, or that standardization or that consistency, that consistent feeling like, Hey, I’m going to meet you every single week, regardless. Right, right. And

Meg Casebolt 24:22
I’m going to talk with Cassie about like kind of the how to make images that people recognize. And then next month, I’m going to talk to presh about Pinterest because I feel like Pinterest is a place where having a very consistent brand standard is super important because people are scrolling and they’re only seeing the graphics. And that can be huge for a lot of businesses is having that presence on Pinterest where people see your pins and they’re like, I want to go look at that. I want to click on that. So knowing that your creativity can still fit into that but not have to be a heavy weight on you every week.

Theresa Truong Baretta 24:56
Yes, absolutely. Exactly. And I I think that is going to be key in like, you know, really starting you key in being able to start generating that content process, that production process flow, regardless of your doing podcast, YouTube, or even a blog post.

Meg Casebolt 25:16
I agree. All right, well, we will leave it there for now. Did you have something you wanted to share with people?

Theresa Truong Baretta 25:24
Yes, absolutely. So we are working on actually consolidating a few SOPs,

Meg Casebolt 25:32
standard operating procedures, yes, standard operating

Theresa Truong Baretta 25:35
procedures into a marketing bundle that’s going to be available to our SEO, summer campers, and is going to be released shortly. And it’s a collection of SOPs for blog posts, for example, YouTubes, and even podcasting, and how to kind of manage that for your workflow. And so I’m excited to kind of share that with our campers that will be available through the website on the sales page, as well.

Meg Casebolt 26:04
Yeah, we’ll put the link right below this. And then you guys can go check that out if that’s something that you feel like you need. Theresa is great at putting together just templates and workflows that you can then apply in whatever system or whatever tool I guess I should say, works for you. So for our team were a lot of same page some notion, like I have other people who are taking some of the same ideas, putting them into clique up for their teams to into Asana. So it’s not tool specific. It’s more like, here’s how you can make the steps work for you. Here’s how you can start to make it customized to you in a way that works for your brain. That’s right, and your team and your life.

Theresa Truong Baretta 26:46
Yes, absolutely.

Meg Casebolt 26:47
All right. Well, thank you so much for being here, Teresa, and for making my business makes so much more sense. I’ll see you at our call next week. And campers. Thank you so much. If you have any questions, Theresa will be available at some point this month to come through and answer them. So ask your questions right below this video. You can tag me you can tag Teresa, we’re both right here in circle all the time.

Unknown Speaker 27:09
And we will see you guys

Meg Casebolt 27:13
thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown.com/review Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you

Unknown Speaker 27:38
then

Please forgive any typos as this transcript was automatically generated by otter.ai.

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Ep. 56: 7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From NaNoWriMo

Ep. 56: 7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From NaNoWriMo

I participated in the challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November for National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo. And I met that goal of 50,000 words! I wanted to share with you how my first year of participating in NaNoWriMo went, how I...